The Crazies (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
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The Crazies (2010)

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Andrew DISLIKEThis year is going to go down in the annals of film history as being one of the most creatively bankrupt.  The Crazies is another attempt to cash in on "brand pre-awareness" and sell us a product that we've seen a thousand times before.

Outside of a couple of fun scenes, this is one movie that should have been left alone to rot in George Romero's filmography.  But I guess you can't blame them for trying.  Unless you happen to like originality and skill, in which case feel free to fire along with me.

After making a fat profit out of remaking George Romero's significantly better Dawn of the Dead, someone came up with the bright idea of remaking The Crazies.  It's not a zombie movie in the strictest sense, but your standard tropes are in place.  Unending wave of mindless killers, government hush up, holdout for survival, pregnant wife of main character - you know, all that cliched stuff that we crave.  The remake gets points for presenting this all in a slick fashion but really, aren't all of these remakes filmed with the same kind of flash and panache? All that glistening technology giving way to crisp shots is starting to give me a headache.

Describing the plot feels a little redundant since this is basically a zombie film, but I guess you need something to hang all the gunshots around. During a baseball game one of the local drunks comes stumbling onto the field wielding a shotgun.  The local sheriff, David (Timothy Olyphant), correctly surmises that this is an unsafe situation and is forced to gun the drunk down.  This turns out to be the first in a wave of folks acting insanely homicidal and losing their minds.  So David and his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson), start investigating around and find a plane crashed into a nearby river where the town gets it's drinking water.  Eventually it's chaos and anarchy, the government descends to contain it and David is on the run with his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell), plus random townie Becca (Danielle Panabaker).

It's not exactly the most intricate plotting, but if there are enough thrills and laughs to go around it should be plenty fun to watch.  But aside from a couple of notable scenes involving a runaway bone saw and a car wash ambush that's an exercise in fantastic misdirection, there isn't much to enjoy.

The government enters the scene pretty early and it is a nice twist to have the characters fighting off them and the crazies at the same time, but they don't really do too much with it.  It basically just ends up as a binary approach to the fighting - if it's the government, make sure that you're stealthy and if it's the crazies then it's time to get bloody.

All of this bored me to a state of apathetic grumpiness.  Not a single one of the characters has anything interesting to say aside from laying out where they are going to be going next.  So if there isn't a snappy scriptwriter on-board, the film is going to live or die based on those tension filled moments.  But they lack tension, and you can guess where they're going as soon as you know the enemy is for that scene, so it becomes a waiting game of figuring out who is going to die next.

Of the actors reigned in to try and keep this afloat, Joe Anderson is the only one that manages to give his character any sort of dramatic weight.  He plays the "is he or isn't he sick?" character and manages to come through some bluntly written moments with a sense of dignity.  No one else is as lucky.  Timothy Olyphant does what he can with the material but he seems as bored with living in the surroundings as I was watching it.  Radha Mitchell's acting was so bad that I was able to block her out completely every time she spoke, and Danielle existed to die so I didn't have to pay much attention to what she was saying.

All of these elements could have at least been combined to form some kind of kitschy package of amusement, but the film drowns in it's own incompetence at the level of basic filming.  The first shot of the film is of the town set ablaze.  Why is this here?  To show that "it's about to get real"?  Do you not respect the audiences intelligence enough that this kind of heavy-handed foreshadowing is totally necessary? Ok, maybe I'm being a little harsh.  But then other questions start to pop up.  For example:

  • Why did no one hear the plane that crashed into the middle of the river?
  • Why didn't the government begin containing the problem sooner if they had such sophisticated tracking technology?
  • How is it that the later crazies maintain a level of intelligence but the earlier ones don't?
  • How can someone be bound and gagged that well in the span of 40 seconds?

Then there was the series of shots that featured a disappearing/reappearing gun that was just plain sloppy. The Crazies isn't a horrible film.  It's just uninspired and strangely amateurish despite the glossy special effects.  So unless you're the type that enjoys your movies half finished, go ahead and skip this one.  I'm sure there's someone out there who can point out the important social message I'm missing in this film, but I've got a better plan. Grab a beer and keep hitting refresh on movie news to see if George Romero's Knightriders is gonna be remade. Score.

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The Crazies (2010)

Directed by Breck Eisner. Written by Scott Kosar and Ray Wright. Starring Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson and Danielle Panabaker.

Posted by Andrew

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  1. I think they have reached a point where they have remade every film possible that has name recognition. I bet 99% of all moviegoers had never heard of the original film before the remake. Now studios are remaking movies just so they don’t have to create anything from scratch. I have not seen this yet, but I feel bad for Timothy Olyphant, because he deserves better.

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